Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Little Pakistani Children Raped, Gang-Raped, Murdered with Relative Impunity

A third-world legal system and a religion still stuck in the Dark Ages makes Pakistan an awful country to be a child

A 7-year-old Pakistani girl was raped, strangled
and left in a dumpster
By Amanda Erickson 

At least two civilians were killed in protests in Pakistan on Jan. 10 over the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl. (Reuters)

Muslim custom decrees that the dead must be buried almost immediately. But the father of 7-year-old Zainab, who was raped and strangled last week, says he won't bury her until her killer is found and punished.

“We will not bury her until we get justice,” he told reporters. “We are now afraid of letting our children leave the home. How was our child kidnapped from a busy market?”

As her relatives tell it, Zainab's horrifying last few hours unfolded like this: The child had been staying with her aunt while her parents traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the umrah pilgrimage. On Thursday, relatives say, she left home for a nearby Koran recital. She never returned.

On Tuesday, police found her body in a dumpster about a mile from her home in Kasur, a city in Punjab province. According to early autopsy reports, Zainab had been raped multiple times and strangled four or five days earlier.

CCTV footage purporting to show Zainab walking hand-in-hand with a stranger has been circulating online and publicized by several Pakistani news outlets.

Police say that they are investigating the death and that charges should follow soon. Officials say that DNA was recovered from Zainab's body and that early evidence suggests the perpetrator was a family acquaintance. But lawmakers also seemed to suggest that Zainab's family deserved some blame for what happened to her.

“A child's safety is its parents' responsibility,” Rana Sanaullah, the law minister of Punjab, told the newspaper Dawn. Zainab's father, however, has pointed the finger at police. “If the police had acted immediately, the culprit would have been caught,” he told reporters.

The sexual abuse of children has been a recurring issue in Kasur. At least 12 children have been sexually assaulted and killed in the past two years. Last month, a 9-year-old girl went missing from the city center near her home. She escaped her captor, but reports say she remains “severely traumatized.”

Police say at least five of the killings can be linked to one person, who is the focus of a manhunt involving hundreds of law enforcement officials. Police say at least 90 potential suspects have had their DNA tested.

In 2015, police busted a gang running a child sex ring. The gang had allegedly abducted and assaulted at least 280 children since 2009. The families of the abducted children were often blackmailed, and video clips and images of the assaults were sold online.

Zainab's case, though, seems to have hit a nerve, prompting attention from politicians, athletes and performers. On Wednesday, riots erupted over alleged inaction by authorities. At least two people were fatally shot when protesters tried to storm a police station to demand justice, according to Dawn. Shop owners in the city shut their doors on Wednesday in solidarity with Zainab's family.

In Pakistan, rape and violence against women are endemic. Sometimes, they're even sanctioned by traditional authorities. In Pakistan, tribal councils have come under fire for ordering the rape of women whose relatives commit crimes. In July, a 12-year-old girl was raped by a teenager in a field. Two days later, the perpetrator's 16-year-old sister was sexually assaulted as punishment. Although it's hard to know how often this happens, experts estimate that hundreds of women suffer this fate each year.

11 cases of child sex abuse reported in Pakistan every day

Up to 11 cases of child abuse per day are reported in Pakistan, according to a report published by Sahil – an organisation that works on child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse. Photo: file

KARACHI: The brutal rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur is not a one-off incident. As many as 11 cases of child sexual abuse are reported from across Pakistan every day, according to data collected by non-governmental organisation Sahil. 

Even in Kasur—which became the centre of a massive child abuse case in 2014 and 2015—the rape and murders of 12 minor girls, all aged between five to eight years, have been reported in the past twelve months.

According to reports in the media, Aimaan Fatima, Fauzia, Noor Fatima, Sana, Asma and Laiba were among minors kidnapped from the suburbs of Kasur in 2017 and whose dead bodies were later recovered from different parts of the city.

According to the latest numbers released by Sahil, an organisation that works on child protection with a special focus on sexual abuse, a total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported from across the country in the first six months of 2017 alone. 

In the previous year, the total number of reported child abuse cases stood at a staggering 4,139, bringing the total number of children being abused in Pakistan per day to 11. 

Remember, these are just 'reported' cases and undoubtedly make up a very small fraction of the total number of child sexual abuses. Inept, sometimes disinterested police who are not trained in questioning child victims, along with courts that are extremely intimidating and not very sympathetic, and social stigma, means most child sex crimes go unreported.

The shocking numbers bring to attention the failure of law enforcement agencies in Pakistan, particularly Punjab, in apprehending these criminals and curbing a plague that seems to have taken hold of our society.

According to data from Sahil, out of the total cases of child abuse from January to June 2017, 62 percent were reported from Punjab. 

Child sexual abuse in Pakistan (2017)
Data courtesy Saahil, January 2017 to June 2017.

27 percent of cases reported were from Sindh province, while 76, 58, 42, and nine cases reported from Balochistan, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir respectively. 

The number of cases reported from rural areas amounted to 74 percent, while the number of cases reported from urban areas increased by 10 percent as compared to the comparable period in 2016.

Last year, a 17 percent decrease was reported in child abuse cases as compared to the previous year. From January to June, a total of 1,764 cases of child abuse were reported as compared to the 2,127 cases for the same period in 2016.

Of the total reported cases of sexual abuse in the first six months of 2017, 45 percent of the cases were committed by acquaintances, while another 17 percent of the horrific crimes were carried out by acquaintances and strangers. 

Strangers were found responsible for 15 percent of all cases reported in the first six months of 2017.

Of all cases, 15 percent of the crimes were committed at the victim's own place, while 12 percent were said to have taken place at an acquaintance’s place.

A shocking revelation in the report states that a 100 percent increase in child abuse by landlords was observed in 2017. 

Kasur culprits following a pattern?

Reports in the media suggest that the culprits in Kasur seemingly following a pattern—bodies of all of the deceased minors raped and murdered in the first six month of 2017 were found in under-construction houses. But the law enforcement agencies, it appears, have failed to notice.

The families of seven girls and three boys who became the victims of the murderers in Kasur still await justice, despite assurances from the police after public outcry broke after each incident.

With the memories of the ‘Husain Khanwala’ incident in Kasur—in which hundreds of children were abused, filmed and, later, blackmailed by local gangs some two years ago—still fresh in the minds of the public, prominent activists and members of the civil society have raised their voices on social media and demanded justice for Zainab’s family.

HASSAN: Pakistan needs to do soul-searching
over child sexual abuse
Farzana Hassan
People protest during a rally to condemn the rape and killing of Zainab Ansari, an 8-year-old girl last week in Kasur, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Karachi, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

Riots have erupted in Kasur, Pakistan, after the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari. This unfortunate child was laid to rest Wednesday amidst tears and violence. Tragic as this event is, it has at least brought to light the rampant sexual abuse of children in Pakistan, where both boys and girls are often victimized without anyone paying much attention.

Whereas boys are assaulted and sexually abused through institutions such as bacha bazi — the practice of chiefs and landlords owning male sexual slaves — girls are victimized for a host of reasons, but most often the primitive urges of powerful and predatory men.

The problem is systemic. Reportedly, each day eleven Pakistani children are victimized at the hands of abusers, and this is a conservative estimate. Zainab Ansari was the 12th victim in the last two years in the city of Kasur alone.

While the public in Pakistan is outraged at this murder, it should be noted that rape is often used as a weapon against girls and women to settle family feuds. It is inflicted with impunity. Punishments for rape and sexual assault are negligible and culprits often go scot-free.

Rapes are under-reported by women because the law often treats rape as adultery and women who report such crimes can end up in jail. The testimony requirements in a rape case can also make it impossible to punish the rapist.

These judicial anomalies indicate a fundamental lack of acknowledgement of the humanity of women. Yet the issue transcends mere law enforcement; it is bound up with sexist attitudes toward women and girls that are rampant in society. That such incidents occur daily and usually go unnoticed shows Pakistani society’s comprehensive failure of gender awareness.

Adding to the outrage in this case has been the role of police, who opened fire on the protesters in Kasur, resulting in two casualties. The police in Pakistan have a reputation for being utterly corrupt and while videos of the alleged offender have been shown to the public, he has inexplicably not yet been apprehended.

Social media and television broadcasts in Pakistan are buzzing about Zainab’s tragic death. Some are suggesting this is a symptom of the poverty and deprivation many face in Pakistan or that such a crime is the symptom of a deranged mind. Others are openly repudiating such justifications, calling for the strictest possible punishment for the offender.

Perhaps one day all such cases will inspire the horror they deserve, but there are many impediments to this. Discussing such a delicate issue as sexual abuse is taboo because of religious sensibilities, but it would bring tremendous benefit to Pakistani children if they are taught how to protect themselves from sexual predators – the kind of sex education imparted to children in Canada.

They must be made aware of their right of autonomy, of saying “no” to any unwanted physical contact. They must be able to recognize what is acceptable and unacceptable physical contact. In addition, there must be regular classes on civil consciousness and responsibility, and respecting others’ rights.

Pakistan has a long way to go before its society can come to a universal understanding of children’s autonomy and the unacceptability of violence toward women and girls. Let us hope this outcry in Kasur will at least start a more intense soul-searching on sexual abuse issues in the country.

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